December 2010

Sake Spotlight - BT Goes Aged Nama With Harushika

Posted by Beau Timken in 2010, December, Newsletter, Sake Spotlight
5 cases! That's all we have! Basically we only have 60 bottles of an amazing aged nama-zake that was imported exclusively for True Sake. If you want to experience a very unique aged "nama" sake that has vast and expansive "living" qualities then take a chance on this extremely flavorful sake that is all attitude.

I have tasted this sake in various incarnations, in different countries and at different temperatures. What impresses me is the extent of the impact of the brew. It is bombastic and quite vivid in character. If flavor were a penny this brew is a $1,000 bill.

Nama sake is "expected" to be consumed as quickly as possible, but some breweries will age or "rest" their namas to bring out more "fullness" or deeper flavor. The 210 days that Harushika ages this sake does both!

My importers know how much that I enjoy this brew so they secure five cases per year for True Sake.

We received this sake for the first time last year and herewith was my review then:

Harushika "Spring Deer" (2009)
From Nara Prefecture. Nama Junmai Ginjo Genshu (Nama). SMV: -5 Acidity: 2.0 Yeast: Harushika #6

The aroma profile on this "aged unpasteurized" sake that is EXCLUSIVE to True Sake is flush with ripe fruit tones such as strawberry, mango, grape, and floral elements. Okay folks! This is the round, soft, super smooth fruit bomb sake that you have been looking for. A truly unique brew that is so velvety and ripe with explosive fruity flavors such as strawberry and honeydew that you would think it needs a huge acidity push - but none exists. Soft ripe fruit on a honey flavored gooey fluid. Fat, smooth and friendly - so drinkable with so much personality perhaps it is the 210 days of aging for this raw sake. Crazy! and 17% alc to boot! WORD: Juicy WINE: Ripe reds/ bright whites BEER: Sweet Belgian Ales FOODS: Spicy and savory fare, American sushi, cheese and fruit dishes.

My latest tasting of this "Fruit Monster" was conducted in Colorado with the outside temperature at around -4 F. Cold sake on a cold night! It still warmed the cockles. My fellow tastees were not that sake savvy, so I greatly enjoyed their feedback, which were amazingly positive.

Herewith is my "three different sized-glass" tasting notes. (I used an ochoko, small pub glass, and a white wine glass.)

Harushika "Spring Deer" (2010)
From Nara Prefecture. Nama Junmai Ginjo Genshu. SMV: -5 Acidity: 2.0

The nose on this very raw and living nama sake is a crazed collection of mango, green apple, honeysuckle, melon, ripe persimmon, and other tropical fruit aromas. Talk about a fat and fruity sake with immense legs on the glass. This genshu (undiluted) sake has an impressive 17-18 alcohol percentage that manifests itself in a larger flavor forward inflection that speaks big fruit and big feeling. Expansive, robust, chewy, viscous, and every other "large and vivacious" terms in the book apply to a sake that is huge in the glass and smooth on the palette. In a word this is a cheerful brew that is plump and loaded with fruit- basket flavors such as plum, honeydew, mango, and blueberry pulls. Sweeter in a small glass and smoother in a larger vessel, the unique aspect of this nama sake is that it drinks great chilled, room and at warmed temperatures. Yes! Warming a nama works! If you are looking for a chippy, zesty and brash fruity mouth circus this brew is all attitude and all you. WORD: Vast WINE: Beaujolais BEER: Big Belgians FOODS: It's a meal in the glass, but would dance with shellfish, American sushi, spicy fare, and big flavored game and fowl dishes.

The feedback from the "uninitiated" who tasted with me was pretty amazing. The quality that stuck out most was the sheer and pure fruitiness. They were amazed with how fruit-forward the sake drank. They were also impressed with how smooth the sake drank for all of the fat and gooey flavors. Lastly, the collective was pretty impressed with the fact that the sake was 18% alcohol but they could not taste "any booze."

I picked this sake for the Spotlight on account of the fact that it won't be around for long, and it is truly an "event" when drinking. So much fruit so much gooiness - so loaded and yet so drinkable. Take a one in sixty chance that this sake will hit your nihonshu sweet tooth with feeling and passion. And add an "aged nama" to your sake checklist!

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